Can You Learn Spanish Grammar by Watching TV?

Many language learners often discover that there tends to be a bit of a divide between using a language in the classroom and using it out in the real world. After all, even if you understand the etymology of important words, putting them to use can be a whole different challenge. Perhaps this is why a lot of Spanish speaking hopefuls tend to struggle with listening to movies, music, and TV shows, because at times what you learn in the classroom and what you hear outside can often sound like completely different languages! At the same time, learning to communicate the way the rest of the world does is a necessary component of conquering the Spanish language. So in this same vein, can you learn Spanish grammar by watching Spanish TV shows?


There are some language institutes out there that subscribe to the movie/TV show method. At these schools even beginner students may be required to sit through foreign language shows (without subtitles mind you) as an essential part of learning to speak the language. While watching shows in Spanish can help your ear to become more in tune to the nuances of the language and how it is spoken by natives, it won’t really do you a lot of good when it comes to retaining grammar sequences or even new vocabulary. Why? Mostly because, unless you are near fluent in Spanish, the majority of what you hear will end up sounding like gibberish. Sure you may pinpoint words here and there that you understand, but you won’t be able to comprehend and learn complex grammar solely through immersion in movies and TV – this type of knowledge can only be accomplished through hours of classroom time and diligent practice!

CC BY 3.0 - Uploaded by MZaplotnik

CC BY 3.0 – Uploaded by MZaplotnik

Another challenge you might face when it comes to learning Spanish grammar by watching TV is that your brain may not be quite up to the task of sitting through an hour or more of a language you are struggling to comprehend. Most likely you’ll be able to focus completely during the first fifteen minutes, but after that your ability to actively listen severely decreases which affects how well you are learning. As we all now know, it’s a complete myth that you can passively listen to Spanish music or dialogue and that your brain will somehow magically begin to better comprehend the language. Experts have cited active listening as vital to the learning process which means all your focus must be on what you’re watching – something which becomes increasingly difficult the longer you sit and listen to conversations you don’t fully understand.

So, can you learn Spanish grammar by watching TV? The short answer to this question is definitely no. However, don’t lose hope yet because watching Spanish TV may not be able to teach you grammar, but it can certainly help you learn it. Language teachers believe the key to using TV to learn a language is by starting small, so fifteen minutes a day of a movie is enough time for you to train your ear and actively listen to how sentences and phrases are structured in real life. Of course, don’t neglect the most important component of your Spanish language journey either; sign up for top-tier language classes and refresh your knowledge with online placement tests. Then hit the ‘power’ button on your TV, sit back, and enjoy!